The full Federal Court has today handed down its decision in the case of the Minister of Indigenous Affairs & Anor v MJD Foundation Limited, finding in favour of the MJD Foundation.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the MJD Foundation played a crucial role in supporting people suffering from Machado Joseph Disease – a degenerative disease that results in a lack of muscle control and coordination on the extremities.
“This case was not about whether funding should be provided, but how it is provided,” Minister Scullion said.
“Aboriginal people with serious health issues should not have to fund their own support services and the Coalition Government will stick to this fundamental principle.
“I acted in July 2014 to assure the MJD Foundation of the Government’s ongoing support by agreeing to provide it with $500,000 a year – significantly more than the interest the MJD Foundation would have received had it received and invested the $10 million Aboriginals Benefit Account (ABA) grant. This is something the Labor Party continues to ignore.
“The reason I appealed the original Federal Court decision in this matter was because it raised important technical questions affecting the administration of the ABA that needed to be resolved.
“I am disappointed that the then Labor Government’s raid on the ABA has been upheld. I do not support money for Aboriginal people being spent on government services, a concern the ABA Advisory Committee – made up of Aboriginal representatives – has shared with me.
“It is not appropriate to make any further comment until the Government has had time to properly consider the decision.
“With regards to the current ABA grants funding round, it’s business as usual. I still strongly encourage local organisations committed to improving the lives of Aboriginal people living in the Northern Territory to apply for funding.”